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Published January 28, 2011, 12:00 AM

Contact nursery about black walnut trees

Q: I would like to know if we can grow black walnut trees. We would like to try because we used to have one and loved the meat. Where do we find the seeds? Thanks in advance for helping us.

By: Don Kinzler, INFORUM

Q: I would like to know if we can grow black walnut trees. We would like to try because we used to have one and loved the meat. Where do we find the seeds?

Thanks in advance for helping us. (Crosby, N.D.)

A: I have no idea if you can. I would suggest that you contact St. Lawrence Nurseries in Potsdam, N.Y. The nursery lists black walnut stock in its catalog.

I know they would be hardy enough to make it in your area because they can survive and produce in the northern part of New York. Go to www.sln.potsdam.ny.us/ for what is available in the catalog. The black walnuts are listed on Page 27. You should ask if you could purchase nuts instead of trees. The nursery is a small business enterprise run by a husband and wife who grow and ship only organically grown plant material. Good luck.


Q: We have about 40 arborvitae planted along our drive on a thin strip of flat ground. The ground falls off drastically to a ravine just a foot from the trees.

There is no direct watering system for the arborvitae. They looked fine this summer, but I just noticed that the trees are thin and browning, especially on the side facing the ravine. We had an excessively dry summer. I desperately need to save these trees, so I am wondering if there is something I should do now (25-degree weather and snow). Should I water? We are renting the home and cannot afford to be replacing all the trees.

(e-mail reference)

A: You didn’t say where you live. However, it must be somewhere in the North.

Essentially, I would say there is nothing you can do at this time. I would think this is something that the property owner should be made aware of. The potential failure of these trees should be the responsibility of the owner, not the renter. Additionally, someone from a local nursery or an arborist should examine the trees to see what is causing the problem. Watering during the middle of the winter is fruitless.


Q: I came across your website during a search on why my majesty palm plant has an awful smell. We have three of these plants at work, but only one emits a bad odor. The best way I can describe the smell is that of baby vomit or spit up.

The smell is awful. I couldn’t find an answer, so I took matters into my own hands. I took a large pitcher and filled it with lukewarm water and a squirt of dish soap. I poured it over the top of the soil and let it drain out. I took the plant out of the pot and set it in another pot for a day. I cleaned the original pot with water that had about ½ cup of bleach in it. I let it sit for a day and then drained and rinsed it. I repotted the plant in the original pot. That was about six months ago. The smell was gone and all was well until today. The same plant has that same awful smell again.

I am not sure what to do. The pot has great drainage and the plant never has standing water in it. The smell is worse closest to the base of the palms. I would really appreciate it if you have any advice. I can clean it the way I did in the past, but I think that is more like putting a bandage on a broken arm. (e-mail reference)

A: Of all the questions I’ve received these past 25-plus years, I think this one takes the cake! I have no idea what could be causing the stink you describe. I am amazed at your patience in dealing with it.

I would recommend dumping this particular plant and go for another. We planted hundreds of majesty palms while I was in Saudi Arabia but never had anything approaching this kind of a problem.

Do you have someone who is trying to get your goat by dumping something rotten smelling in the pot? Never overlook the possibility of a prankster when logic fails to provide the solution.


Write to Ron Smith, NDSU Department of Plant Sciences, Dept. 7670, Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050 or e-mail ronald.smith@ndsu.edu.

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